KIDAPAWAN CITY, (PNA) -– Tourism officers from local governments, educators and representatives from non government organizations gathered here Tuesday and Wednesday to promote and preserve culture and arts.
Tourism officials and stakeholders came from the rpovicnes of North Cotabato, South Cotabato and Gen. Santos City who attended the first Culture and Arts Congress held at the University of Southern Mindanao in Kabacan, North Cotabato.
With the theme “Cotabato: Empower the Empire through Culture and Arts,” the two-day Congress aims to uncover and develop various artistic skills and talents of the Indigenous Peoples (IP’s) in North Cotabato and nearby provinces, accoding to North Cotabato Gov. Emmylou Mendoza.
It also aimed at bringing the IPs together and appreciate each others’ differences through understanding each others’ culture and strengthen co-existence and living harmoniously.
Many of the participants belonged to different tribes such as Manobo, Bagobo, Tagbanua, Maguindanaoan, among others.
The Congress also aims to create a stronger bond among tribe people showcasing their homegrown talents such as dancing, singing and acting and turn it into a collaborative or mutual effort.
Culture and Arts Consultant and South Cotabato Culture and Arts Foundation Incorporated President Juanito “Butch” Ferrer, one of the invited panelists of the Congress, said there is no existing records or documentation of the history of the Cotabato province during the pre-Spanish era.
Also present were Leonardo Cariño, Artistic Director of Theatro Ambahanon and member of National Commission of Culture and Arts – Cultural Education Committee and Eric Raz, Chairman of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) North Cotabato.
The Congress also provided participants with a workshop on Artistic Management, Event Orgnizing and Handling.
Mendoza believed that the Congress would help the Cotabato Centennial Movement in its task to make the province’s hundred years celebration memorable and live up to the expectation of the constituents.
North Cotabato celebrates its 100th foundation anniversary on September 1 next year.
“We may be different because we belong to different tribes. We may be diverse because we have our own culture and tradition but we live in only one province thus we need to understand and accept the other’s presence,” she told participants.
North Cotabato is the mother province of the Empire Province of Cotabato before it was subdivided in late 1970s that led to the creation of South Cotabato, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Saranggani and the cities therein.